A Hybrid Approach to a Graphic Design Professional Practice Course

Graphic Design Professional Practices is a senior level course that covers professional ethics & standards, business practices & tactics, and production techniques for graphic designers. With graduation hot on their heels — seniors review, discuss and participate in what it means to be a professional graphic designer.

In contrast to the typical graphic design studio course, with project centric content — this course contains more ‘out-of-class’ content (reading, short videos, tutorials), reflection and discourse. Students are asked to build their own set of  ‘best practices’ and approaches when it comes to being a happy, healthy and challenged professional.

I’m using the hybrid model to as a way to diversify and expand the delivery, output and engagement beyond the classroom. I’ve recently found that there is an ‘issue’ or lack of productivity and motivation in the classroom setting alone. Our students need the flexibility to construct their own spaces and environments to work best in — to be able to share and discuss their work across a variety platforms — from online discussion to classroom presentation.

I’m shooting for a 50/50 split between classroom to online time. Class time will primarily be used to share, present, discuss and debate ideas face-to-face — while online time will be reserved more for content delivery, peer review, reflection and discussion.

I think of the hybrid model as a ‘node’ — one pathway is the classroom and other is online — when the two paths come together, they create a connecting point, that connecting point is an ‘learned point’ for the student.

What follows is a breakdown of how the learning module (or node) “Career Research + Positioning” would be linked through online and face-to-face activity:
Reading: Read the AIGA article Building Blocks Of Design Studio Culture.
Build a frame or narrative — of the type of studio and work you want to belong to. Choose three ‘hard’ and two ‘soft’ building blocks from (or based on) the article and write a statement that explains the importance of those ‘building blocks’. Post to the online discussion board.
Online Discussion: Read through your classmates ‘building blocks’ and find where you have overlapping interests. Respond by letting them know why that shared consideration is important to you as well.
Fieldwork Assignment: Research Studios/Agencies/Organizations that you might like to work for based on your Design Culture Building Blocks. Make arrangements to visit or interview two of these studios.
In Class Presentations: Design a visual presentation that explains the ways in which the studios you interviewed support your studio culture building blocks.

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